Monday, February 7, 2011
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Recommended To: Holocaust fiction fans and women.
This is the first book I've read by Rosnay, but after reading it I immediately put her newest book on my PBS wishlist. Evidently Rosnay has written a lot of books which you can find on her GoodReads page, but this was the first I had heard of her.
Sarah's Key fluctuates between the story of a little girl and her Holocaust experience and an adult American woman who is writing about the roundup of French Jews at the Vel’ d’Hiv. This is a little known portion of French Holocaust history, and this is the first book that I have read about the experience.
I didn't expect this book to be very good. But, as it turns out, I was charmed by the little girl and ended up eventually cheering on the woman as she gathers the strength to leave her potentially abusive and annoying husband.
It must be said that the story of Sarah, who locks her little brother in a cupboard in order to keep him safe from the Nazis is far more intriguing than the story about Julia the American stuck married to a Frenchman. Rosnay switched back and forth every single chapter and I found myself skimming some of Julia's story to get back to Sarah's more interesting plotline. This book probably could have benefited from some built in suspense and Rosnay should have told the story in larger chunks to build that suspense. Without that, the stories were choppy and disconnected.
This is absolutely a story for women. The story about Julia was probably better because I read it from a women's perspective and I can't imagine that men would appreciate her relationship with her husband and her lack of female friends in France as much as most women.
Overall, this book is a solid B-. It was nice to read about a part of French history that is often overlooked, but the author needed some serious editing to make the book climb over the B hump.